What is Verbatim Transcription?

Sep 29, 2009 | Transcription | 0 comments

Simply put, Verbatim Transcription means typing every word on a recording just the way it’s said. It requires a keen ear, attention to detail, and a LOT of patience.

Verbatim transcription can be put in three categories:

  1. Verbatim
  2. Intelligent Verbatim
  3. True Verbatim

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim transcription is probably the most popular transcription style out there. It involves detailed transcription followed by light editing, delivering a transcript that is highly accurate yet not overloaded with unnecessarily detail.

A verbatim transcript captures every word that is said on the recording, leaving out parts like  false starts, repetitions, ambient sounds and non-verbal communication. This makes the transcript cleaner and easier to read, while still capturing all the relevant parts.

Here’s an example of Verbatim Transcription:

Interviewer: Did you ever correspond with him at the time?

Interviewee: No, I don’t recall that. I think I have some, letters from him in my file though, which come some years later.

Verbatim transcription is great for when you need to know exactly what was said on a recording but don’t necessarily need the extreme detail of true verbatim transcription.

Note: Verbatim and True Verbatim are often used interchangeably. So sometimes when you ask for a verbatim transcript, you may actually receive a true verbatim transcript. Be sure to clearly explain what you need to avoid re-work!

True Verbatim Transcription

A true verbatim transcript captures EVERYTHING on the recording – including words, sounds, and non-verbal communication such as laughter, pauses, etc.

Here’s an example:

Interviewer: Did you ever correspond with him at the time?

Interviewee: [Silence] No… uhm… I don’t recall that. He sent some… I think I have some letters from him in my file though…[Pause] which come some months…years later.

As you can see, there is no editing involved and everything is typed just as it is on the recording.

This style is ideal for research projects where HOW something is said as important as WHAT is being said.

Intelligent Verbatim Transcription

This style of transcription involves creating a clean, print-ready transcript that has been edited in detail to correct grammatical errors, improve sentence structure (paraphrasing) and remove distractions like:

  • Fillers (um, uh, you know, etc.).
  • False starts (incomplete sentences).
  • Repetitions (repeated words and sentences).

Here’s an example of Intelligent Verbatim Transcription:

Interviewer: Did you ever correspond with him at the time?

Interviewee: No, I don’t recall that. I think I have some letters from him in my file though, which came some years later.

What you basically get with this style is an error-free transcript that is true to the recording, yet easy to read.

Which transcription style do you normally use in your transcripts? Do you have a question about any of these styles? Leave a comment to let us know!

Read: 4 Rules of Verbatim Transcription

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